Singing, Photographs and Numpties – 2 November 2019

Today was going to be a busy day with a load of culture.

Today I was dropping Scamp off in Baillieston at midday for a choir rehearsal and then I was off into Glasgow to see Dougie’s photographs of Cuba.

The first part was fairly easy although the sat nav took us by a different route from that chosen by Google Maps. No big problem though because it got us there, possibly quicker than Google would have. Dropped Scamp off and headed for Glasgow. Took a wrong turning, but followed my nose and the lie of the land and found my way on to the M8 again at Easterhouse.

Got to Glasgow and parked on level 6 of Buchanan Galleries. Even then it was just a lucky space. Don’t usually have to go that high! When I was walking down to Tolcross where the exhibition was, I did notice more than the normal amount of Saltire clad Scotsmen (and women, but mainly men). The worrying bit was the amount of police roaming George Square. Much more than a normal Saturday.

Got to Dougie’s exhibition and had a word with him. Some lovely prints on the wall. Didn’t even ask the price because:

  1. If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.
  2. I’d been in such a rush to get there, I hadn’t had time to go to the bank and I only had £10 in my pocket. That said, £10 was the price of the catalogue, signed catalogue too by both artists, so not that bad.

Listened to the introduction to the gallery and the ethos behind the photos. Then the two photogs took us through a few of their photos, explaining the reasons for hanging them. Dougie spoke no Spanish and Roberto Chile, the other photog spoke no English, so the translator was kept busy. My one criticism of the event was the translator. He spoke in a monotone all the time. Shannon (Dance teacher Shannon) was there. She would have been a much better translator and would have injected a bit more life into the talk, and the occasional “Ooo la la” too. I must suggest it to Dougie.

Too many people there and too few seats, which meant I was leaving with a sore back. Walked back up the hill and found that the Saltire Army must have been breeding. There were hundreds of them all being whipped into a frenzy by some opinionated numpty with a microphone. The crowd did, however, give me the opportunity to take some crowd photos. Best one I got was That Selfie Moment which made PoD.

Walked up to the car and was trying to get out when I came across a poor woman trying to reverse what I suspect was her husband’s rather large automatic Audi out of a tight parking space. She was in a tizzy and had got herself into a position where it was almost impossible for her to move back in to the space and impossible to get out. I took the bull by the horns and gave her some simple driving instructions and between the two of us we got it out without any bumps or scrapes.

Drove to Tesco to get lunch and then realised that it was 3.30pm and Scamp’s concert started at 4.00pm. Dumped the loaf that would have been my lunch and drove back in to Baillieston and just got there in time. Thoroughly enjoyed the Faure Requiem. An hour’s peaceful music in a busy day.

Dinner was a dire curry from Bombay Dreams. Not sure what was wrong with it, but it wasn’t their best. Suffice to say if the next one isn’t any better we’ll be looking for an new Indian take-away.

Tomorrow we may go for a walk and there’s talk of a practise session for Jive, Quickstep and Waltz in the afternoon.

On the Bonny, Bonny Banks – 29 October 2019

Today we visited Loch Lomond.

Tuesdays are becoming the ‘just go’ days. Just get up, get out and go somewhere. Today that ‘somewhere’ was Balmaha on Loch Lomond side. To those who have never heard of it, it sounds like somewhere exotic, but you’re probably getting mixed up with The Bahamas. It was not very exotic today, in fact it was a bit cold, but when you were in the sun it didn’t feel too bad.

We had packed a flask and the usual assortment of picnic food like crisps and chocolate biscuits. Good healthy food and not in the least fattening. Before we got stuck into that we had to do some walking to get the blood flowing after our 50 minute drive. Walked down to the jetty and that’s where I got today’s PoD. It’s a two frame panorama stitched in Lightroom 6, thanks for asking. The blue sky is real and it looks exactly like the view from that pontoon today.

After getting my photos we walked back to give some other folk a shot on the pontoon. Took some more photos near the poorly tended Tom Weir garden. Then it was back to the car for a coffee and a chocky biscuit.

Scamp fancied stopping at the Beech Tree Restaurant on the way home, so that’s what we did. Luckily the Sat Nav lady knew the way to Dumgoyne and gave us directions.

Food was good, but I got a fright when the waitress asked me if my name was Campbell and was I a Techy teacher, if so there was a young lady sitting in the corner seat who thought she knew me. It turned out to be a former pupil and thankfully, it was one of the most pleasant ones I’d taught. I went over and had a few words with her and her dad who I remembered from various parents nights. Poor girl, like so many others, she’s working in a job she doesn’t like. I know that feeling. It took me many years before I got the opportunity to do a job I really enjoyed. Hope she gets that chance before long. After being properly fed on Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, and giving father and daughter a wave on the way out, we headed for home. Today was a lovely day.

I’m still not sure if the proper term is Skullcandys or Skullcandies. I’m going with the former. These are my go-to headphones (or to be more precise earbuds) when I’m out walking by myself. They fitted the topic today perfectly and the topic was A Pair of Headphones.

Tomorrow Scamp is out in the morning and we’re hoping to dance in the afternoon.

I thought I’d have a day in town today – 24 October 2019

Just window shopping mainly, but with intent.

Drove up to the station to see if there were any spaces. There weren’t, there were cars everywhere. Cars parked up on two wheels on the verges, cars in the flower beds, cars double parked. This is just carnage from Tuesday to Thursday. I think a lot of folk either work from home or take a holiday on Mondays and Fridays, because I can usually get parked without a problem then. However, there is always the worry that when you come back some moron has parked in front of you. Maybe a ‘ten pence coach line’ would remind them that behaviour like that is not acceptable. Sooo I had to drive in to Glasgow.

I was give a list of shower gels to get for Scamp in Molton Brown. Of course they don’t call them ‘shower gels’, they call them Body Wash. Isn’t that what shower gels do, wash your body? Anyway, today was the start of their annual 20% off offer so that’s why I was given the list. With the job done I wandered my way back up Bucky Street to see what goodies Jessops had for me. My attention was a girl interrogating an older couple. Then I felt a hand on my chest. It was attached to a woman about my age and it was there to stop me walking into her! I hate folk that don’t look where they’re going, and here was I doing exactly that thing. I apologised and laughed and thankfully she did too. Never did find out what the girl was doing.

I hadn’t heard that Jessops were on the point of being put into administration – for the second time. It was only when another customer asked one of the assistants if the shop was closing. His reaction gave the lie to his explanation that nothing was certain yet. Another one bites the dust, I think.

I had another look at the Sony RX 100 camera and for once the salesman I was talking to didn’t push me to try the version 5 of the camera, but said the best bargain was the version 3. I’m still not sure if it’s what I’m looking for. It has a silly little pop up viewfinder that I’m sure I’d break within the first month and then regret shelling out my money for it for the rest of the ownership.

Back home via Tesco to get the makings of dinner. Then I just had to visit the new Aldi store. It was a bit smelly and that could have been the veg counter, or just the great unwashed. I’m not sure which.

Back home I was in the middle of making a pot of Scamp’s Just Soup when the lady herself returned from her gig. It seemed to be a resounding success as it always is in Abronhill.

I left her to cool down and talk to her sister on the phone while I went to get today’s PoD. It turned out to be a little bush which grows wild around here with white berries and pink flowers. It’s called a Snowberry Bush. I liked the flower and the composition.

Apart from fish and prawns, I ‘m not a great fan of seafood, especially shellfish. However, that was today’s topic and needs must … Most of the bits and pieces were cobbled together from various photos of shellfish on the Internet. A splash or two of paint and we’re done!

No plans for tomorrow.

Dancing and a screamer – 23 October 2019

Wednesday is dancing day. Screamers are just nutters with a different name.

My new phone vibrated just after 12 noon to tell me it had changed numbers, back to the one I’ve had for the last eight(?) years. A result. Thank you to the bloke in EE who sorted it. Now I can go ahead and unlock the old phone.

Drove in to Glasgow and started again into the new routine, adding the subtly named Bump and Grind. After that is was a practise session for the Quickstep and the Waltz. I had problems with them both, but the room is simply too small to be able to go over these steps. Add two speaker stacks and a piano and it becomes more challenging. If you add the third complication of the thick couple Gary and Freda who will happily stop anywhere and discuss who was making the mistakes. Actually, like most couples both were at fault, but do they really need to block everyone else’s path while the blame each other? It appears they do.

Coffee afterwards and coming back from the toilet, I noticed an iPhone on the floor behind where a woman was sitting. I tapped her on the shoulder to tell her and she let out this cutting scream. Honest, I just tapped her on the shoulder. I didn’t think I was that scary, although years of S1 pupils at school might disagree. Some folk just want to be the centre of attention. Nutters by any other name.

Back home I went out for a walk with the “Big Dog”. Thinking that as it was really dull, the bigger sensor on the Nikon would handle it better than the Oly. I was wrong. Lots of grain showing on the images. I finally chose a shot of a swan as PoD.

When I got back it was time to get the sketch sorted out. The topic was “A Fried Egg”. Where do these people get their ideas from (it was an old list for EDIM actually)? It should have been fairly easy, but I’m not that good at getting eggs into the frying pan without breaking the yolk, (and that’s what I did with the first one.) Tomorrow I’m expected to continue the food theme!

I packed in early and that’s why this blog post is a catch up. Sorry!

Tomorrow Scamp has a gig and I may go in to Glasgow.

A Day at the Seaside – 15 October 2019

Up and out we said. Up and out it was today.

Breakfast downstairs today and out for 10.30. Off to the seaside. I chose Troon as our destination. It began to look a bit dicey when we climbed up the M77 to the top of Fenwick Moor and drove into the low lying cloud. Fog lights on and we carried on. Thankfully after about 15 minutes we were back into sunshine with the cloud looking like a grey wall behind us. From there it was sunshine all the way to Troon.

Couldn’t get parked at the first car park, so we carried on to the one we used to go to round by the harbour. The place with the crashy waves. The waves weren’t crashing today, in fact the sea was very calm with only the slightest movement. Arran’s peaks were poking through some low cloud and made a great PoD. Taken by me, chosen from the sixty odd others by Scamp. We walked round the Ballast Bank by the low and now notifiably DANGEROUS path. Sat for a while on one of the seats by the path. Beautiful views over to Horse Island and Ailsa Craig in the distance. Listened to the hundreds of seabirds on the exposed rocks. It could have been summer, sitting in the sun with the high banking sheltering us from the sun.

Eventually we gave up our seat and walked on into town. Nearly at the town Scamp’s cousin appeared with her daughter and the two of them had a long catch up, nearly blocking the path for everyone else. Eventually we split up and went our separate ways. We walked as far as the wind surfers’ car park at the far end of town. There we turned and walked back in to town. I suggested we go to the Venice cafe for lunch. The best part of half an hour for a roll ’n’ sausage and a roll ’n’ scrambled egg. It’s not that they were busy. We were the only ones waiting to be served. No apologies, nothing. Scamp told them in no uncertain manner that we wouldn’t be back. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say that before. That will give you some idea of how angry she was. Now we know why it wasn’t busy.

Walked back to the car and who should we bump into again? Elspeth and her daughter. They had been to Scotts for lunch and that’s where we had been heading before we met them. Don’t see some folk for ages, then you see them twice in the same day.

Drove home through the usual 4pm traffic. No low cloud or fog this time, just loads and loads of cars on a busy road.

Sketch today was “A Dessert”. We had Meringue with Strawberries and Cream for tonight’s dessert and I attempted to draw that, but wasn’t impressed with the attempt, so I drew Strawberries and Cream instead. Three strawberries and a tub of Elmlea. I liked that one!

Maybe we should keep that Juke. Today we started out with 274 miles predicted in the tank. We arrived home with 295 miles predicted in the tank. It seems like the petrol tank is related to the Magic Porridge Pot that never emptied!

Tomorrow it’s dancing in the afternoon, hopefully.

Deone’s Seat – 11 October 2019

Today’s topic from my list was “Butterfly”. In October, in Scotland? Really?

Then I remembered Deone’s Seat. It’s to remember Deone MacRae who died, aged 15, from cancer. The story is much longer. Google her name if you’re interested. It’s not a memorial. First and foremost it’s a seat. It’s been powder coated a cheerful bright pink and it sits beside the pond at St Maurices park. The seat is cut and welded from 1/4″ sheet steel and is a fitting tribute. I went out this morning to sketch it and then added some colour later. It was my interpretation of the prompt.

Came back and Scamp was getting herself ready for a trip in to Glasgow, solo. That suited me. I’d a bit of virus killing to do on the iMac. Probably only the second time I’ve had to resort to a virus killer. I’d tried Bitdefender last night, but it’s a bit of a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It took 25 minutes last night and it still was only about 75% through on a short scan. Nah, I needed something quicker. I’d found the offending article, it was an extension in Safari, Apple’s worthless browser. Worthless or not it was harbouring a piece of dodgy software that needed excising. I’d read that Malwarebites was good, so I downloaded that and it quickly found, not one, but two pieces of malware and deleted them, or to be precise, quarantined them. I don’t like quarantine, I prefer deletion. So that’s what I did. Malwarebites it’s the way to go.

By this time Scamp was on the bus to Glasgow, so I had time to add some colour to today’s sketch. Plenty of time, so for once, I let one colour dry before adding the next. I was pleased with the result. Yes I know it’s not totally symmetrical and there are some rogue lines, but that’s what happens when you’ve half an eye on the rain clouds, half an eye on the swan that’s sidling up to you looking for an early lunch and half an eye on nosy folk asking “Are you drawing?” Luckily the only person who passed was a bloke jogging around the pond and he just nodded and gave me a Scottish “Aye” which can mean “Good Morning”, “Looks like rain” or just “Hi”. It never means “What are you doing here?” It’s just a nod and an “Aye.” I don’t think they do that anywhere else in the world.

With the sketch and the painting done, I did a bit of flying from Fuerteventura to Lanzarote. Not far, but still taxing until you work out how to do the ILS approach under autopilot. I know this is gibberish, but it’s interesting gibberish to me. Gave up after the third attempt and made my lunch. Piece on brie, apple and honey. Totally heavenly. Home grown apples too, James Grieve.

After lunch I walked down to M&S to get chicken for tonight’s dinner and also a box of their delicious Turkish Delights, bread and a couple of pastries for after dinner. Got a text to say that it was back to business, Scamp had returned.

PoD was a photo of St Mo’s pond that I took after sketching Deone’s seat. Looks very pleasant once you’ve spotted out the Bucky bottles and the crisp wrappers. Swans seem to like it anyway.

Tomorrow we may go to Embra. It depends on the weather, but I expect I’ll be driving part of the way, which means I won’t be able to partake of tomorrows prompt: A Fruity Cocktail.

Coffee – 4 October 2019

Coffee with Fred and Colin

Coffee in Costa with Fred and Colin, Val being in Skye sampling their rain and beating off the midges I’d guess. While I was waiting in the queue I introduced a nurse to Cortados.  She asked what they were and when I told her, she said she’d never heard of them before, but would order one the next time she was out with her friends.  I told her it might be a good idea to try one first!

The boys and I discussed holidays past and plans for the future. Reminisced about school days our younger selves survived, (almost) unscathed. “I got belted at school but it didn’t do me any harm.” However we managed to keep of the topic of politics, otherwise we’d still be sitting there long after Costa had closed and still be nowhere nearer the truth. Books exchanged, we made our way home in the rain. It was a strange feeling having coffee with the boys on a Friday, because it’s usually a Thursday. Upsets you internal time clock.

Took today’s PoD when I parked the car under the big chestnut tree outside the house.

In the afternoon I struggled with a subject to fit with today’s topic of “Freeze”. I finally settled for a melting ice cube beside a freezer tray. Quite liked the linework with only minimal shading and no brushwork.

Out in the evening to Crawford & Nancy in Larkhall taking June and Ian with us. Really good relaxed evening and a very late arrival home which is why this is a ‘catch-up’ blog post. Finally headed for bed around 1am.

Driving home, and almost at Cumbersheugh I spotted two deer grazing at the side of the motorway.  Not surprising that you see so many deer carcasses at the side of the road these day.  These delicate looking creatures could easily be spooked on to the road and into the path of a car weighing in the region of 1.5 tonnes and travelling around 65mph and guess what comes off worst.  I’m mixing my units here, but you get the idea.

Out for a flu jag tomorrow morning. Really looking forward to that, as you can imagine. 😕

Today was dancing day – 2 October 2019

It was cold this morning. Temperature when I was making breakfast was 1.7ºc, which was around the 2ºc they predicted last night. There was even frost on the roofs out the back of the house. Winter is Coming. Hmm, that sounds like a good title for a TV series or something!

Flew around on X-Plane for a while trying to find out how autopilots work and then attempting to make a working flight plan using an amazingly easy to use piece of (legally) free software. Amazingly easy to use at the lowest level (my present level) but quite sophisticated as you get deeper into it. It’s called Little Nav Map in case you’re interested.

Just before I got started someone knocked on the front door and delivered a big box of flowers, a box of chocolates and a bottle of Prosecco. All from Clive, our visitor from last week. It was a lovely surprise. The flowers are beautiful and are arranged in one of my mum’s vases sitting on a little table. We had to test the chocolates tonight just to check that they were ok 😉. We’re leaving the Prosecco until the weekend! If you’re reading this, thank you very much Clive it was really kind of you. I apologise for the arm wrestling in the restaurant!

Off to Glasgow to dance for an hour with Anne Marie. Went over the entire “Over The Rainbow” Jive routine with slight variations from Michael’s moves. Tidied up the ‘new step’ from the Waltz and the Promenade from Quickstep. Rather a full hour!

Coffee and Debenhams to look for a new pair of dark trousers for me for next week. When we were going in, the Bowie / Bolan bloke was hammering out a version of one of their songs, so I took his photo. He’s annoyed me with his singing for ages, now was the time to pay for it with a PoD. He sings Marc Bolan. He sings David Bowie. He’s versatile because he sometimes sings Bowie songs with a Bolan voice and vice versa. This is him on his favourite pitch on Argyle Street in Glasgow. I liked his choice of backdrop. No trousers that I liked in a size that fitted. Maybe try Debenhams in Stirling later in the week.

Back home I made Smoked Haddock and Leek Risotto for dinner. Dead easy, because it’s all made in the oven. That’s the best type of cooking, the easy type.

Today’s Inktober prompt was ‘Mindless’. I was indeed mindless and didn’t want to do what most people were doing “Saving the Planet from the Mindless Ones”. Eventually I gave up and sketched and scrapped a coffee bar, then noticed my keys sitting next to me. They didn’t fit the prompt, but I thought the shapes looked interesting and doable, so today’s sketch is Keys!

Tomorrow we may go on a trouser search in Stirling, or maybe we’ll do something else.

Talking to HAL 2000 – 19 September 2019

It was all going so swimmingly. A sure sign failure was on the horizon.

Got the train in to Glasgow today after Scamp gave me a run to the station. Got my hair cut and indulged in a bit of politician bashing with the political barber. Went to look at a possible new camera in Jessops and then in JL. That’s when the message came in and the day turned sour. Message from the health centre to phone about my results. Phoned the doc and had to endure the now annoying half a minute of condescension from one of the doctors, explaining how a good health centre works. Nothing like the one I was phoning. Finally got through and asked to check my results. Gave my name, address and DOB. A lot of grunting and things being bashed about on the other end of the line, eventually ending in:

“Was it blood results?”
“Are you having them done here or at central?”
I’ve had them done. I got a message to phone about my results.
“Oh” <more bashing and phones ringing>
“You’ve to make an appointment with the practice nurse.”
OK, but what about my results?
“That’s why you have to make an appointment with the practice nurse”
Can’t you give me the results?
“I don’t have a medical background, I can’t give you details”
Can’t you give me the numbers then? <This is when the receptionist turned into HAL>
“I’m sorry, I’m afraid I can’t do that”
“I’m sorry, did I say something funny?” <Oh dear, that’s ‘light the blue touch paper and retire time. I felt like saying “Did you really say that?”>
So you want me to make an appointment. I’ll phone next week and do it.

Now that I think about it. I believe she didn’t actually have the results in front of her. That’s what all the banging was about, she was trying to find the results. Either that or she had found what she thought were the results, but there were big words on that bit of paper and she couldn’t read them. I ended the call there and walked away fuming.

Walked down Bucky Street, going over the conversation in my head. Did she really say that? Should I report that? Make a formal complaint? Nah. Just put it to the back of your head (nicely coiffed, by the way) and go for a walk, so that’s what I did.

Wandered around taking pictures and bought myself another, allegedly simple, pattern for another waistcoat. Took some photos down Bucky Street, Queen Street and the GOMA. Finally arrived at George Square to find that battle lines had been drawn. West side and all the pubs therein was commandeered by Feyenoord supporters. East side by equally noisy and steamin’ Rangers supporters, with about twenty police trying to keep the peace. Good luck with that. Took a few photos of that too and then got the bus home.

Ranted at Scamp when I got back and gave another version of the conversation to her. Than “Dug and Burst Ba’” (Can’t let it go, got to keep worrying it), phoned the surgery and got a different receptionist, a human who told me my PSA was fine and my sugar was a bit high, and I made the appointment with the nurse. All over in less than a minute. HAL 2000 must have left the building.

Last story of the day, and this one is interesting. Scamp found a thin silver ring when she was doing even more tidying this afternoon. She cleaned it up and I did some research on the Internet. It was made in Glasgow, Assayed in Edinburgh and dated around 1860. Probably belonged to either Scamp’s or my Great Grannie, or maybe even Great, Great Grannie. Just a wee ring sitting in a bowl. What stories could it tell? I photographed it with the macro lens. What would the lady who owned it think of me taking a photograph of it with a tiny little camera and looking at that photograph on an illuminated sheet of glass that can let me talk to people on the other side of the world?

Today’s PoD is the head of a dragonfly from a walk in St Mo’s this afternoon. Walking without a jacket too. Lovely warm day.

Tomorrow I go to the Hospital, basically, to pee into a bucket. No other plans.

So now we know – 4 September 2019

Scamp went to see the nurse today, but the news was not what she expected.

We sat about in the morning watching the rain, but our minds were on tomorrow and the rail journey south. Little did we know. Scamp was determined to go to the new M&S shop and we did go along with half of Cumbersheugh. Yes, it looks good, but contrary to predictions it doesn’t have a café, at least not yet. Got a whole bundle of stuff. Some for today, some for tomorrow and some to come back to. Got to the tills just as St Mo’s school decanted all their pupils into the shop. Most were directed to the self-service tills, some waited in the normal tills and the rest shop-lifted. Back home we had lunch and then waited until the big hand was at the 6 and the little hand was halfway between the 2 and the 3, then we went up to the doc’s.

Scamp was in with the nurse for a lot longer than I’d thought, but then I heard her voice saying ‘Thanks’. The half smile on her face told me it wasn’t what we’d expected. The nurse had immediately confirmed it wasn’t insect bites, it was Herpes zoster AKA Shingles. Now it all made sense. The pain, the itch, the cluster of ‘bites’ that was actually a rash. Yes, she was past the infectious stage but we weren’t sure now whether to go or not. I was going to drive to the butchers for some stewing steak and a mutton pie to take down south, so that would give us both thinking time. Scamp was off into the Co-op to get a cake for tonight’s pudding (sponge with our stewed apples and custard).

When we met up again in the car, she’d decided to wait and see what Hazy said when we could speak to her. We weren’t sure if I was clear of any infection yet, so all three of us reluctantly agreed that it would be best to postpone the visit. Not the result we wanted, but I was relieved that Scamp wouldn’t have to endure a four hour train journey with not even a free bottle of wine to take away the aches and itches. Anyway, it wasn’t cancelled, just postponed.

We thought we’d just have to bear the brunt of the loss of the train fare, but no! Scamp phoned the help line at Trainline and managed to find a sympathetic ear at the other end in Sam, who gave her an address to send our tickets to and told us that in this case she’d get a full refund. Y’see, there are good people out there.

The sun had come out for a while, but by then it had gone back behind the clouds again and the rain was back. I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to get out to take any photos today. That’s why I’ve resorted to ‘cut flowers’ again. Hopefully the last of this month. It’s a close-up of a Chrysanthemum flower that made PoD.

Tomorrow we’re planning to take the bus in to Glasgow to ‘A Play, A Pie and A Pint’ in Òran Mór.